ON THE DAYS I HATE EVERYBODY

My Dear Fellow Journeyers,

This photo represents my feelings towards mankind today. Today I hate everyone. I don’t feel good about hating everybody, but I do. It takes effort to be polite on days like this.  I also wonder if my “hate” for people makes me a bad person,  and what should I do about this?

From my cursory review of psychology journals here’s what I learned. Those people haters like myself-not always- but enough of the time- have high expectations of others.  According to my reading if you are dissapointed enough times by a single person or by people in general one begins to form a “schema” or mental representation that others do not meet their standards. This view is not conscious. We are not aware that we have standards and that others are not meeting them, but we are aware that something isn’t right. That’s how I felt today.

I am aware of the symptoms. I know them well. I am standoffish because I am evaluating you to see if you are in fact worthy to me my friend.  I have few friends. I find other people who hate people and nurture those friendships and we people haters find other people haters and mate for life with them.

However, I will say this about myself and I understand these traits are typical for other people haters as well.  Apparently we listen well. We remember what other people like and we do it for them. My few friends would do anything for me and me for them. They have managed to pass my “hate” test.

I know on an emotional level that most human beings can’t help their limitations. I know that when people can’t see what they are doing is wrong, they lack empathy and self-awareness. I get it that these folks “just don’t get it.” I know I should not get angry at people who litter- who throw food and trash out of their cars unto the streets- yet I am pissed off and I hate them.

I know my hatred of people who do things that I despise is because at some level I am immature and that those people have failed to develop responsibility. This doesn’t help, when the chicken bones fly out of the car window.  I know that I need to manage my anger in these situations, and usually I do so externally, but internally I am seething and name calling.

My therapist says I should learn to “gradually learn how to bring out the best in people” at least the ones that I have more than just a one time contact with. I know that I can narrowly focus on the bad in people. The reality is that all people are some mix of the good, bad and the weird- just like I am.

What bothers me the most about my “hate” for people is my own anger. I have learned that anger has a tendency to generalize itself. I hate that aspect of anger. I wish I could be angry only at specific things or people at specific times, but when I’m angry I hate everybody and everything. I know I need to work on this aspect of my anger. It’s been hard. I’ve observed my wide swath of anger ever since I was 11. I knew then as I know now that I cannot blast the world for something someone unknowingly or knowingly did to anger or better yet to disapoint me.

I know my all or nothing attitude towards people limits the number of people with whom I engage. I am working on it. I am a deeply flawed person, yet I have difficulty accepting the deep flaws of those I encounter. Many people have not had the time to develop the kind of genuine moral awareness that I have. This is not because I am so much better for having created this moral awareness- it takes time and not everyone has the time for mediation and expensive classes that lead to self-awareness. Some folks are out there trying to survive at the most basic levels.

Here’s the ugly reality. When I have such widespread general anger or disappointment which I call “hate” I am not looking down on people, I have actually made them far too important. I have put those people on a pedestal for them to have such an effect on me.

Misanthropy is a clear sign of frustration and feeling that your needs have not been met. Part of the solution is taking better care of myself and not making my needs other people’s responsibility. In addition, I am told to lower my expectations of people. My rule is “Unless you do what I want, then you’re awful.” But I have learned that its not worth the disappointment of needing anything from the wrong people. This is what sets my hate cycle – expecting something from the wrong person.

Here’s the last part that is the hardest for me to swallow: Hatred could be seen as a form of unnecessary emotional dependency. I must find a way to get to “I can be happy in spite of the way some people are. I don’t have to take on all the problems of the world. I am not responsible for the bad behavior of corporations or individuals or governments, nor am I responsible for their actions.
In a world of 7 billion, I can find some interesting, kind and evolved people. Needing a relationship  with someone who rarely meets one’s expectations is a sign of being too involved.

I am not committed to hate. To hate others is to signify that I have a harsh relationship with myself. I know that I can never learn to love myself if I insist in hating everybody else. The problem with hating everybody means hating myself.  And as I’m mentioned before hating others is a false  means of creating superiority.  In the end hatred is a waste of time and energy.  The last thing this world needs is another hater.

With love and light,

Brianna S. Clark
Your Fellow Journeyer

ADVERSITY AND THE PURSUIT OF GOODNESS CREATES STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

“A great nation does not hide its history. It faces its flaws and corrects them. This museum tells the truth that a country founded on the promise of liberty held millions in chains. That the price of our union was America’s original sin.”

George W. Bush, Former President of the United States of America

The photo of  First Lady Michelle Obama hugging former President George W. Bush at the opening ceremony of the African American Museum garnered a lot of media attention in the past 48 hours.  I am glad that the photo has gone around the world showing people that America has been built and kept strong by it’s diversity. I hope that the camaraderie shown this past weekend will continue to invigorate the America that I believe it can be.Tonight our country and the world will hear two voices. One voice will be one of hope and forgiveness- the other voice will be that of discontent and a desire to create an America that cares about itself first- the rest of world- if it has the time and resources.  I hope that the second America will never occur.

For those of you who have read my blog over the past year, you know that I am a Hillary Clinton supporter. For me, Hillary represents the idea of never giving up. She is that older woman who has paid her dues and is now hoping to reap after the years of hard work. I hope she will win some hearts and votes tonight.

Is Hillary a flawed character? Unquestionably yes. But for those of us who have never  been under the microscope of the public eye; it is easy to dismiss Hillary Clinton as untrustworthy. It is easy to paint her with a broad brush of  double standards. Any other candidate, if he were not a she, would be a sure bet for the White House, But ironically for  Hillary Clinton her “untrusthworthiness” is  partially  because of her long and yes tainted political record. However,  a lot of what plagues Hillary is that she is an old female politician.

Similarly we paint Donald Trump as a racist, a bigot, and isolationist, a demagogue, a wild man, the list is endless. I am not sure if Donald Trump is any of things that he has been called. The scariest thing about Donald Trump is that we don’t know who is. What we have seen of him during this past campaign has been polished and written by handlers- who at this point- Donald Trump has acquiesced to. I think that those of us who have never  been extraordinarily wealthy are fascinated by a man who has created himself a billionaire- even if he’s only worth one billion instead of  the ten billion he claims to be worth. Some how we think a man who can create personal wealth can create wealth for all 300 million of us. It’s a great fantasy, one that I hope does not send voters Trump’s way.

I imagine for those of us who are terrified of  racist in the White House, there are those  who were terrified of a black man in the White House. As it turns out- that black man became a great president not because he was black but because he cared deeply about this country and its people.  I hope that in the next several weeks we as a people will focus on who will create the most common good- and give up our positions of a “first female president” and  “wealth creator”.

I believe as flawed as Hillary Clinton might be that she would make a better president than Donald Trump. I hope that come election day,  all who are eligible to vote will vote. Let’s listen tonight as we gather around to listen to these candidates and listen with the mind set of who will best serve the greater good in this country. Who will care and work for the poor, the ill, the imprisoned, the transgender, the  Muslim, the outcast- all of which make up the richness of America.

I have traveled to many places in the world. No matter how much fun or how beautiful or how advanced that country might or might not be, I am an American. I believe that this country will find its way as it has always found its way to do what is the right thing to do.

Each of us must ask ourselves each day and on election day, what is the right thing to do? Do that.

I pray for world peace. I pray for peace in America. I pray for peace in Maryland. I pray for peace in Baltimore. I pray for peace in my home. I pray for peace in every home. I pray for peace in my heart and every heart that beats on this planet.

God Bless America and let her be the light to  world.

In light and love,

Brianna S. Clark,
Your Fellow Journeyer

FIGHT WITH LIGHT, LOVE, LAW,

My Fellow Journeyers,

Today began with sadness  as 21 year old Tawon Boyd, a African American Male who lived in Baltimore County, died three days after a “fight” with police. The police were responding to a domestic fight where  Boyd’s girlfriend called the police because he was acting “crazy”.  The picture is hard to look at, but I’m glad that the media is showing it. At the same time there was a second day of rioting in Charlotte North Carolina as people protested to the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. Two lives blasted to death and the third pummeled to death at the hands of those who are supposed to protect and serve and meet out justice.  I am so tired of reading about these police shootings.

Originally,  I wanted to write about my coming to terms with the number of male beggars that approach me on my eight block walk from my home at the edge of  the Mt. Vernon historical district to my office in downtown Baltimore. But these deaths of these men by the hands of the people we expect to meet out justice and protect causes me sadness.

I know that we can not let violent acts lead to more violence. Fight the dark with light. What I did today to create light was to meet with a group of lawyers to implement a renovation of Baltimore’s dangerous and blighted communities. We listed our individual strengths and what we could contribute to the realization of a Beautiful Baltimore for Everybody.  I am uniquely placed to make this happen. If I do nothing else but create the team  which transforms my chosen home of Baltimore Maryland it will be will be one of the greatest things that I will have accomplished.

I began at 9:AM with bankers. By 1:PM 4 lawyers had drafted a rough plan to present to local politicans with which we have worked with for years. By 3:PM four developers said they wanted to be in the conversation. I am a happy with the thought of possibility. One person can create positive change.

During these dark days of political ugliness where all the “isms” are raging, let’s keep making light in the face of darkness. Create light.

With love and light,

Brianna S. Clark
Your Fellow Journeyer

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/23136508@N00/29183765335″>IMGP4467</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/23408922@N07/26963207716″>Tea lights</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

FREEDOM OF SPEECH DOES NOT HAVE TO BE LIKEABLE

My Dear Fellow Journeyers,

I couldn’t take it anymore- I cut off  most of my hair.  The first time I cut off all of my hair was when I was 19. It felt so freeing, as it does now.  The reason I started to grow back  my hair was because I felt that my almost shaved look was intimidating to some people. I did not want to alienate anyone because they were intimidated. I was especially concerned that the people who manage people in re-hab or those who worked with young people, might be put off by my lack of hair. I found out that nobody cared. So, I’m doing what works for me.

Thank you for that digression. Now on to this blog about everyday racism.

There were two disappointments that I want to discuss. I was  trying to support a female owned florist named “The Moderate Florist.” The name of the business should have been the first clue, that she was not suppose to be my florist, but nevertheless she was recommended to me by the staff of Mom’s. For those of you who are not familiar with MOM’s it is an organic food market.  Its importance to this story is that MOM’s doesn’t sell flowers. When I stopped being a Whole Foods customer and switched to MOM’s I no longer had a source for flowers, thus “The Moderate Florist.”

On my first visit to The Moderate Florist she said that her credit card machine was not working and she could only take cash. No worries, I had cash and I bought out most of the remaining flowers in her modest store.

On  the next occasion, she remembered me, but she greeted me with, “You should be glad I am opened. Most florists close at noon on Saturday.” I responded I was thrilled she was opened and proceeded to buy a large bunch of flowers. At my parting she said “September is wedding season, I’m am not likely to be here.” Lo and behold, this Saturday, which was September 17th, I drove to The Moderate Florist during the Hampden Festival. This point is important for two reasons. This first is that I suffered the usually bad parking which was increased by the festival goers  and I waded through dense crowds to get to her store. She wasn’t there.

There was a note, however, saying that she was near one of my favorite antique stores. I walked the four blocks through the crowds and I was happy to see the florist. She had a bucket of sunflowers. I walked up to her and said “I hope I have enough cash to buy all of your sunflowers.”

“They are not for sale,” she said. “They are give-aways for people who sign up for weddings.”

I was disappointed. “Do you know if there is another florist in Hampden that is open today?” I suppose I should have just googled to see if there was, but I was hoping to support a small business.

“No,” she answered. “Your best bet is to go to the Whole Foods in Mt. Washington.”

I sighed.  “I have made a great effort to support your business and you are making it very hard for me to do so.”  She shrugged her shoulders. I felt like crying, which was an over response,  but I have a real commitment  to support female entrepreneurs.

Later that weekend I told my florist tale to a friend of mine. He said “She doesn’t want your business; she’s racist.” I was stunned by his response. He added “Hampden is a poor white working class neighborhood with a history of discriminating against black people.” This made me even sadder.  “I guess, I need a new florist,” I said.

“I think you do.” He replied. I will tell you on Thursday who my new florist will be. I know, this is a a real “first world problem.”

The other event worthy of comment was  last Sunday’s response of the Seattle Seahawks. I had hoped they would have gone down on bent knee to support the   “Black Lives Matter” campaign. Instead the Seahawks linked arms in solidarity. The team has been criticized for their “on the fence” move.  I had to think about  Seattle’s actions as they relate to the “Black Lives Matter” campaign.  After  thinking about what our country stands for- freedom of speech- or non-speech, I realized that I could not  criticize the Seahawks. To do so would mean that I only support freedom of speech when I agree with it. That’s not supporting freedom of speech.   Free speech  does not require agreement.

I extended this concept to include freedom of speech around political speech as well. Most of my Facebook friends are liberal Democrats.  However,  a few of my friends are Republicans. Some of my Republican friends have shown their support to Donald Trump. I realize that while I disagree with most of the statements made by Donald Trump, I must respect his freedom of speech as well. So, I won’t “unfriend” anyone for supporting Donald Trump. I will, however, question why we are friends on Facebook or otherwise.

With love and light,

Brianna S. Clark
Your Fellow Journeyer

RELATIONSHIP BOUNDARIES

Dear Fellow Journeyers,

The other day one of my longtime girl friends from generation X told me that she had given up “whoring” and had began to honor herself.  As she described her journey from “hook up sex” to intimacy I recognized myself. When I was a younger woman I had no code religious or otherwise from which to guide my intimate relationships. As a result anybody’s husband or boyfriend was fair game.

Part of my thinking was if I was single and the other person was married, then I was in the clear and the person who was married was committing adultery.  I have since changed. It’s not because I have suddenly gained religion or morals, its more that I have come to honor the relationships of my male and female friends. I have also come to value my personal word and integrity.

I can clearly recall the moment this transition -from  woman without relationship boundaries to a woman who is thoughtful about all of her actions including her sexuality-occurred.  It was Christmas of 2006 when another female friend in painful detail shared how her husband’s cheating affected her. What happened next was unexpected for what she asked of me and what I agreed to never do again. She asked me to never have another relationship with a married man.  Whether it was how she made the request or where I was when she asked, I found myself agreeing to never date a married man. I have not done so since then.

Fast forward to the present. There is a couple who have been married for three years. Together this couple approached me to have a threesome with them. I declined not being interested in either of them. I don’t know what might have happened if I had found either of them sexually attractive, but since I had not and was not interested in sex with strangers, I declined.

I did like both members of the couple and was friends with both of them. One evening when I was alone with the wife I asked her why  she agreed to participate in group sex with her husband. She said that she was impressed that her husband had openly asked her  and  had been truthful about his desire to engage in sex with two women and other women.  When I further inquired the wife responded that “He was going to want to have sex with another woman at some point during their marriage, and she was glad that he was open about it and it was better to have a plan than to find out the unexpected affair.” I was baffled how without emotion she had explained her position. I would not have  been so open to having my husband sleep with other women or that we have sex with other people.  Was I naive? Was this the brave new world? Was I being left behind as our culture had become more open about sex?
The entire episode had caused me disquiet.   I saw the over all truth in that it was human nature to desire other sexual partners. I was still not comfortable with the idea of group sex or sex outside of marriage or outside of a committed relationship. Sex for the sake of sex was no longer an option for me.

 

I had been widowed for three years when this couple had approached me, so I was single and not in a relationship.  Somehow, I guess I have bought into the concept of monogamy. I have never been able to have sex with more than one man at a time. What I mean by that is that there are woman who can have more than one sexually intimate relationship at a time. I am not one of those women.

As I spoke to my generation X girlfriend yesterday she spoke about being raised Catholic and how when she had been whoring, she was attempting to break free of those religious restraints.   I understood the Catholic aspect as I too was raised as a Catholic who came of age in the swinging sixties and witnessed a riptide of changing sexual values in the 70’s and 80’s and 90’s and beyond.

One of the interesting aspects of my conversation with my GenX friend was how drugs and alcohol temporarily blocked  her ingrained Catholic restraint on sex outside of marriage. She shared that drugs and alcohol allowed her to be more sexually free and to be someone who she ordinarily had not been. I understood that aspect of her story as well. Drugs and alcohol allowed me to go beyond my own imposed sexual boundaries.   Still, having been raised as a Catholic during the 50’s, at best  drugs and alcohol freed me from my inhibitions while in a monogamous relationship. It wasn’t always this way with me, but over the decades I have created my own rules about dating and relationships. Today those rules include not even flirting with someone who is in any form of committed relationship.

While these rules work for me, I don’t impose my values on anyone nor do I promote my sexual code. Each  must find  their own “comfort” level regarding sex and relationships in general.  For me, those values of monogamy and commitment still work for me. I think that this is particularly true where a large percentage of the men in Baltimore are HIV positive, but only 20 %  are aware that they are. This wasn’t the only reason that I changed my behavior, but it was as a good a reason as any.

With love and light,

Brianna S. Clark
Your Fellow Journeyer

SKIN OF A DIFFERENT COLOR

My Fellow Journeyers,

When you are eleven years old and in the fifth grade you are not thinking of the possible complications of interracial dating. But my preference for blue eyes and dark hair was created when I was 11. I know it was a purely innocent choice, similarly made as if  one day I chose pink. I don’t think my choice of RT Smith was influenced by the media in sort of a “whitewashing” which might have made me  wish to be a blonde or have blue eyes- because I wasn’t allowed to watch a lot of television as a child. So, it wasn’t that.

I was attending a private Catholic Prep-school  in Chevy Chase Maryland. It was the 1960’s after the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 was signed into law. This affected my choice because there were only white boys attending my elementary school. I will admit, that maybe it was because RT Smith’s skin was tanned a deeper brown than mine skin that I particularly found him attractive.

I didn’t recognize at that innocent age of 11 that the combination of things that I liked about RT Smith were his trappings of wealth and extreme privilege. At 11 years old, he wore fine cotton shirts and silk ties that picked up the navy of his cashmere sweaters when fall and winter came.   His loafers with tassels were always highly polished and I sometimes wondered if he had more than one pair that he switched  out so that they always looked new.

I was goofy when I was 11, although I  already knew too much about the real world. None of us, however,  were yet aware of the issues of liking someone else with skin of a different color could create. We were still innocent that way.  I was a reddish brown girl with a big smile and a chipped front tooth that my parents could not afford to repair. I  along with everyone else could see that RT Smith was interested in me. He looked at me as if I were an exotic bird which he had never seen an now he saw me everyday in our fifth grade class.

I can still remember my girlfriends’ names from when I was in the fifth grade. I  even remember their last names.  I have long since changed my last name at least three times to add on the names of husbands to my name of Clark.   Nevertheless they were faithful friends in the way that 11 year old girls can be  before competition and cattiness was even thought about –  that was years away.  They set up an after school date at Lola’s house where RT and a few of his friends were asked to join our group of girls.  I was too loud, too obvious, and probably too aggressive- all  things that I am often times accused of as an adult woman.  He turned his head away from me and on to his math homework.

 

There would be a number of blue-eyed boys that came and went in and out of my life. I married one. Ran away to Europe with another, and might have married him- but for the fact that we moved to Baltimore.When I returned  to the United States and moved to Baltimore, Maryland after having lived a year in France and in Seattle for ten years prior, I was in for a racial awakening. No where  had I ever lived -and I had lived in Columbia South Carolina for a year-  had I experienced such palpable racism as in Baltimore.  Within 90 days of moving to Baltimore in the early summer of 2004,  I was refused service by a  white waitress at a small book store which has since closed and  has never re-opened and was spit at by a mentally ill black man who called me a “Rich Bitch.” This was the first 90 days. Within two years of these initial incidents I would be illegally stopped and detained by the Baltimore Police and on another occasion released with out a ticket even though I had clearly made an illegal turn. It was  perhaps at that detainment, black I was wearing a full length mink coat and strands of pearls. Who ever I was, they did not want to mess with me. The appearance of money sometimes speaks louder than race.
Baltimore ended my interracial relationships. I felt like a modern day Sally Hemings.  To put it succinctly, I felt too much animosity from both white and black people when I was dating my then Caucasian boyfriend.    I was also embarrassed by my white boyfriend artist from New Mexico. The fact that he always wanted to make public displays of affection which included patting my ass in public- which no man- regardless of color should ever do to me- he was broke and opinionated and no-one in Baltimore cared that he was a well known American/Hungarian sculptor and architect.
12 years later, I am still not seeking to date anyone including white males which many more than their black counterparts meet my financial and educational requirements.   I feel I could not adequately convey what my life is like as a black female in Baltimore to someone who might not emotionally understand what this might mean.  My race and all that it brings is an essential part of my make up-one that I cannot change.  With all of the difficulties in navigating relationships, I don’t want to add race; however, if I fell in love with a blue-eyed dark haired man, I would hope we could ride any tide that befell either of us- even in the highly inequitable Baltimore City.
In light and love,
Brianna S. Clark
Your Fellow Journeyer

GETTING TO WE ARE ONE

Photo by S. Ross Brown
My Dear Fellow Journeyers,
I have had a great first week of being 60 years old. As I write that number, it feels incredibly old- but I don’t feel “old”. I feel happy and for most of the time, I am not conscious or thinking about my age. Last week on my birthday, a friend asked  me I had anything to say about turning 60. I said that I had felt the same way as I had the day before. In reflection of this past week, I have had a spiritual revolution, but it occurred a few days after my actual birthday.
Here’s what happened: Two days ago as I was walking to work I saw an older black woman. She had damaged her foot or had been born with a severely turned in right foot. She walked with great difficulty and I felt a moment of sadness for her. Right after that moment of sadness, I said to myself “That could be me in a few years.”  The truth is that anything could happen to any of us at anytime and the things that we treasured about ourselves- our beauty, our athletic ability, our strong healthy bodies, could be taken from us at any given moment.
From this thought, I had a personal panacea;  I could find myself  in  everyone I saw that morning. What I mean by this, was in the past I would walk by a homeless person and wonder how they got that way; was glad it wasn’t me and would quickly hurry away. On this particular morning I could see myself being homeless, being sick. What had happened to me that morning was that I became one with everyone.
I finally emotionally understood the quote which says:
When I do not know who I am, I serve You
When I know who I am, I am You.
I never understood what that quote meant. It does not mean that one literally becomes one with another, it means that we have empathy with another and from empathy we  have compassion.
This is a huge spiritual move for me. Prior to that moment I had always held myself out as special and different- better, prettier, smarter, than most people. In that moment I saw within myself “the stupid girl”, “the ugly woman,”  “the ordinary person”.  Nothing physically altered except for my superior, stuck up attitude that I held about myself.
I don’t know if I will appear different to my friends and family. I look the same to myself, except that I see a softness in my eyes that I saw in pictures of myself  when I was a baby. I have that look of brightness of and old compassionate soul. Actually, the light has always been there, I have only just acknowledged and owned it.
I am glad that I have finally become one with the world.
With all of my love and light,
Brianna S. Clark
Your Fellow Journeyer

IT IS NEVER COMPLETELY DARK

My Dear Fellow Journeyers,

“It is never completely dark,” he would say to me. It is a truth of physics which I could not deny. Yes, there is always light. If there are stars, the sun and the moon it is a physical impossibility for there ever to be complete darkness.

I knew the moment he stopped and introduced himself to me, that he was intended to be in my life for a reason. It was upon me to find out what our relationship would be about.

The night before I had met him, I had stood in front of a fountain in Rome and threw a coin over my shoulder and wished for a life companion. The next day, he materialized.

That was two weeks ago. While on the steps of a museum, which I did not care to see, I met this gentleman dressed all in black. I believe he was the only black American male I had seen during the time I had been in Italy.  It was a Sunday and the day was extremely hot. He started up the steps, and at first I thought he was going to walk by without recognizing me and I  the friend with whom I was sitting. He stopped mid-step and turned around and walked down the stairs and  introduced himself as an American and recognized us as fellow Americans.

As he introduced himself, I saw that he had four bead bracelets on his wrists. He saw me looking at them and said “Just bought these off of an African Brother. Paid $5 Euros.”

“Too much” I responded as he handed my girlfriend and I two bracelets apiece.

“And we didn’t have to show anything for the beads,” my friend jokingly retorted. “Four sets of beads wouldn’t have been enough,” she added, ensuring that her breasts which could never be missed, were recognized.

I was in no mood for small talk.  I was dehydrated after days of walking in the hot Roman sun,  not drinking enough water and consuming too much coffee and milk- even though I  am lactose intolerant. My unresponsiveness hung heavily and  the three of us abruptly went our separate ways all heading to the public restroom. It was an awkward and inelegant parting.

 When I saw the line for the women’s restroom I returned to where I had met the man, while my friend waited in line to use the bathroom. When he walked down the stairs there I was sitting and waiting. I don’t recall what he said as he  gave me his phone number and asked me to call. Before, he could leave, we were joined by two other my friends. I introduced them. One of my friends had grown up in New Orleans, where this gentleman lived. My girlfriend from New Orleans asked him a few questions to see just how well he was or was not acquainted with New Orleans. He passed her test.

I waited until I returned to the United States before I called him.  I am not sure whether he said he was married, but I believe that he hadn’t denied a marriage. His unclear martial status, placed him in the friend category- which was fine for me. Never the less he was articulate, well read, well educated, well traveled and had a high paying job with  the United States Corp of Engineers. He is currently on a project with the Corp. He is stationed in Weisbaden, Germany.

To cut to the point of the this story, today, this man, whose name is Rick articulated my life purpose “It’s not how much light you have, it is how much you leave behind.”  It rang true.  Going forward, it is the creed from which I intend to live my life. 

Living by this credo will affect my future choices and actions. How will my life be effected? How will I effect others with whom  I connect? If you choose to live as if your life’s purpose is to leave light behind, how would it effect your life?

In light,

Brianna S. Clark
A Journeyer

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

My dear fellow Journeyers,
Today on my 60th birthday I am renaming this blog “myfellowjourneyers”.
I began writing this blog  at 3 o’clock in the morning, because  I have been unable to fall asleep.  I had many thoughts about how this day would look like. What it looks like is I am awake for the first three hours of my birthday. I had expected a 12:01am birthday wish  from a special person. It did not come. It’s a new decade. So maybe he will surprise me with flowers when I enter my condo later today. But that didn’t happen either. I am not sad. I realize that my circumstances have changed. But it has nothing to do with my birthday.
I had hoped to spend the day at Ocean City a beach I  became acquainted with when I was 13 years old. I had fond memories of that beach with my older sister and I hoped to return with new eyes on my 60th birthday .  But it’s raining and my plans to go to the beach have not occurred because the weather did not comply.
Instead I am going to take the best care of myself  today. I realize that  what happens and how it occurs is truly in my control. So I’m not sad. I’m not even disappointed. I have simply taken note of what has happened and pass no judgement either way. This is perhaps the best gift I have given myself.
 I had hoped to post a picture of myself in a bikini on a beach somewhere with a big smile on my face. That didn’t happen.
  One of the things I have learned is that life  does what life does .I’m glad to be able to take care of myself and to live the life that I have.
 Over the next year I hope to educate reflect  and inspire  each of you and perhaps to inspire myself .
I want to thank everyone who has wished me a happy birthday. I want to especially  acknowledge my dear friends of which I am so blessed to have and my family members who love me even when I am unlovable.
With all my love,
Brianna